July 19, 2022 2.18 pm

Fire bosses expect “minimal impact” in plan to save £40k by changing night-time shifts

Consultations begin at the end of the month

Plans to save £40,000 a year by changing fire and rescue responses to night-time incidents will have “minimal impact”, bosses have said.

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue says that by using dedicated on-call staff at Sleaford Fire Station overnight, instead of the current use of full-time firefighters being on call, will mean they no longer have to pay a 20% allowance.

This would result in a slashing of costs from £70,000-£30,000 a year.

Mark Baxter, Chief Fire Officer, told Lincolnshire County Council’s Public Protection Committee on Tuesday that the plans would also help to attract and retain staff.

The service said there was lower demand at Sleaford than other whole-time stations.

For instance, Sleaford fire station dealt with 856 incidents between 2017 and 2021, compared to 1,912 at Grantham, 1,784 at Lincoln North and 1,769 at Skegness.

“We’ve got far more intelligence-led data and understanding of the demand across the whole of the county,” said Mark.

He said the changes would “remove the requirement for having whole time personnel at night but give everybody that assurance that we’ve got a strong on-call availability in Sleaford.

“Actually the savings would be there to continue to bolster the support at Sleaford and other stations to ensure that the local communities still have that same level of response.”

He told councillors the new plans had the agreement of the Fire Brigade’s Union and would help avoid issues faced by services elsewhere, including other services being taken to court for their rota patterns.

Councillor Andrew Key asked what impact the changes would have about response times.

Mark said: “We’re expecting to have minimal impact and the reason we say that is because the whole-time personnel that cover on the evenings, they have the same response standard as an on-call firefighters.”

He told councillors the service would be able to run the minimum number of crew members needed, and that training was more rigorous and up-to-date now.

Nine of Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue’s 38 stations are currently staffed by whole-time firefighters.

Further minor changes could also take place to night-time cover in Boston, Gainsborough Grantham, Gainsborough, Lincoln, Louth, Skegness, Sleaford and Spalding.

Consultations on the plans will start on July 29, and bosses hope changes will come into effect next year.